Dogs, Cats, Pigs, Snakes and Pet Skunks

Mystery Cat Turns Up on Island
 – Did She Swim?

This calico cat turned up on Governors Island in New York, her fur salty and matted. She may have survived a swim in New York Harbor.

NEW YORK | Did a calico cat from New Jersey swim across New York Harbor? The mystery surrounds a white, orange and black feline that arrived last weekend on Governors Island.

Security guards found the cat on the island’s north shore. Her fur was salty, matted and caked with seaweed.

A Governors Island spokeswoman, Elizabeth Rapuano, told the Daily News that workers there had a theory: The cat swam to safety after being swept up in torrential rains in New Jersey. That’s more than a mile away.

Rapuano said the calico is a great addition to the 172-acre island but will welcome any leads that would help find the owner.

This Exists: Skunks As The Latest ‘It’ Pet
by Mark Joyella -

This sounds iffy to me. There, I said it: I’m unconvinced. But according to CBS station WWJ in Detroit, skunks are the new “it” pet. And you definitely want a skunk at your Easter dinner. The station talked to Joann Snowaert who has a skunk named Lilly as a pet, and Lilly gets along “great” with cats, dogs and kids. She even provided the station with family photos–including a shot of Lilly getting all adorbs among the Easter eggs.

Oh, and don’t buy into that “they stink” stuff. It’s all hype. Oh, and you can avoid problems by surgically altering the little cuties when they’re young. Yes, seriously:

Snowaert said that once you do get your skunk, be prepared to snuggle.

“When I got into bed I’d bring her with, and she’d just ball up by my feet. If I’m sitting on the couch, same thing – she’d climb up on the couch and wanna sit with you,” she said.

Snowaert said Lilly is litter box-trained, and that pet skunks don’t stink because when they are babies you can have their scent gland removed.

Seattle Homeless Man and Dog Live in Rowboat

SEATTLE — A homeless man and his dog have made a place for themselves, living in a 14-foot rowboat under the Highway 520 bridge in Seattle on the shore of Lake Washington.

The Seattle Times reports 51-year-old William Kaphaem covers the boat with a tarp and has a small stove to cook up fish he catches. He lives on $636 a month from a government program to help the aged and disabled.

When he heads into town for shopping, he moors the boat in 3 feet of water to discourage intruders and wades ashore.

So far he says he's been left alone, but the Coast Guard told The Seattle Times it will have to check him out.

Pet Pig Returned to Delco Owner

RIDLEY TWP., Pa. - Action News has learned that Steve the Potbelly Pig is back home with his owners.

The pet was confiscated last week by police when he wandered from his Ridley Township home.

Officials sent him to a farm in Reading, Pa., saying Steve was not a legal pet.

His owners, Brian Maguire and Bernadette Broadhurst have been trying to get him back ever since.

Steve was brought back home Friday night until the legal matters can be worked out.


'Pet' an Insult to Animals
Fiona MacRae From: Herald Sun

Academics say that rather than being a term of endearment, "pets" is an insult to the animals concerned and their owners, who should be known as "human carers". Source: Herald Sun

IN a statement that gives a whole new meaning to animal rights, leading academics have called for pets to be renamed "companion animals".
They say that rather than being a term of endearment, "pets" is an insult to the animals concerned and their owners, who should be known as "human carers".

Editors of a new journal devoted to animal ethics, including an Oxford University theologian, also want the terms "pests" and "vermin" to be dropped. Wild animals, meanwhile, would be referred to as "free-living" or "free-ranging".

Even innocuous phrases such as "sly as a fox" and "drunk as a skunk" are seen as an affront to animals.

The recommendations reflect a feeling in some academic circles that the language we use when thinking or talking about animals affects how we treat them.

The call for a new type of animal language is made in the first issue of the Journal of Animal Ethics, which bills itself as being "devoted to the exploration of progressive thought about animals".

Although the changes are mainly aimed at those contributing articles to the journal, it is hoped the message will influence how other people view their pets.

In the editorial, Reverend Prof Andrew Linzey, an Oxford theologian who has written or edited 20 books and US philosopher Prof Priscilla Cohn call for a major rethink of animal terminology.

"Despite its prevalence, 'pets' is surely a derogatory term both of the animals concerned and their human carers. Again the word 'owners', while technically correct in law, harks back to a previous age when animals were regarded as ... property, machines or things to use without moral constraint."

But Plain English Campaign spokeswoman Marie Clair, said: "It is not plain English ... I don't know of any pet that has complained about being called a three-letter word."

Ways to Relieve A Thunder-Phobic Dog

Does your dog hate storms? A certified trainer shares tips that might help.

Thunder, thunder, clatter, boom, boom, boom, there goes the dog to the other room.

Is this a familiar scenario? Tampa Bay has been called the lightning capital of the world, and statistics from the National Weather Service confirm that Florida has historically led the United States in lightning strikes and deaths.

If you have a dog that fears thunder, you are very well aware of each storm.

People have different ideas as to what causes the dogs to be fearful, however, none of them is scientifically proven. Most people with thunder-phobic dogs care less about the reason and more about how to ease their dog’s anxiety.

To get some ideas, I spoke with Janet Skinner, a certified professional dog trainer who teaches at Dunedin Community Center.

Skinner said that one of the first things one must do is to have a place that your dog feels safe. Some dogs will actually run and get in the bathtub. Skinner said the research is still inconclusive, but it is thought that dogs do this to feel grounded. She says that the prevailing thought in scientific circles is that dogs may be bothered by the increase in static electricity that comes with the storms.

Other dogs run to their crate, under the bed or to some tile surface. If you find your dog is doing this, please allow them to — they are upset and need that safe place.

Skinner said some pet owners actually wipe their dogs down with dryer sheets to minimize some of the static electricity that makes the dog so anxious. She also said she heard of a person who recommended misting the dogs with a spray water bottle and wiping their paws with an anti-static spray. I would just be wary of any sprays that might be toxic to dogs (in case they lick it off). Your best bet is to check with your vet beforehand.

Another type of comfort that she recommended is body wrapping your dog. When human babies are born, nurses swaddle them. Skinner said that something similar could be done for dogs. She said some dogs are calmed with the pressure of a body wrap. An inexpensive and simple way to swaddle your dog is putting a T-shirt on your dog and gathering and tying up the excess with a rubber band. There are doggie anxiety wraps on the market that give dogs a constant, all-over pressure.

If you have tried all of this and your dog’s anxiety is at an unmanageable level, medication is a last resort. One of the keys in using medication is to give it early and sometimes consistently throughout the storm, but consult your veterinarian. Never give your dog any drugs without consulting your vet.

Pet Tips: Don't Choke Your Dog
Written by Michelle Sherrow -

There are few things dogs love more than going for walks, but if you're using a prong or choke collar, you are turning something fun into something that could do a lot more harm than good to your dog. In addition to being painful and cruel, such collars are extremely dangerous and can cause asphyxiation, a crushed trachea, a bruised esophagus, crushed or fractured bones, fainting, bruising and damage to the skin and tissues of the neck, including discs, and other painful injuries.

Dogs who are yanked and choked can also become frustrated, fearful, and aggressive. By contrast, adjustable harnesses, including the no-pull kind, help keep dogs safe on walks without hurting them.

And let's not forget the choke chain's wicked stepsister: the shock collar.

These cruel collars—which deliver a painful shock whenever the dog's owner chooses to inflict punishment by pressing a button on a handheld device—can cause physical and psychological injuries, including burns, cardiac fibrillation, anxiety, and aggression.

If you see someone using a choke or shock collar on their dog, warn them about the dangers and urge them to switch to humane control and training methods that use positive reinforcement, not pain.

Cesar Millan: Help Me Stop Puppy Mills
By Cesar Millan -

Courtesy Cesar Millan

Puppy mills have been back in the news over the past couple of weeks as Missouri lawmakers look to soften legislation that would crack down on some of the country’s most notorious.

In November of last year, voters approved the measures proposed to place tougher regulatory standards on breeders and agricultural industries. Now some elected officials are attempting to make the proposed laws less strict. Through my work with my non-profit organization, The Millan Foundation, I meet people all the time who are either unaware of what a puppy mill is, feel helpless to improve the situation, or just don’t understand why it matters.

A puppy mill is a breeding facility with the sole purpose of churning out the most dogs for the least money - and to make the most profit. I have seen, first hand, the devastating conditions of puppy mills, witnessing the horrible state of these dogs, being confined and restricted to cages, raised to produce litter after litter after litter. Most of them were unable to live out their true potential as fulfilled and balanced dogs.

By supporting puppy mills, knowingly or unknowingly, people are allowing these practices to continue, which leads to substandard breeding conditions and inbreeding that can then lead to health and behavioral problems. It is also a major factor in the pet overpopulation crisis we have in this country with 4 to 6 million pets euthanized every year.

Substandard breeding conditions and inbreeding can lead to health and behavioral problems in the puppies bred there. Since the 1980s, the Humane Society of the United States has been fighting to shut down these facilities. You can do your part by making sure to research before you adopt and by keeping yourself informed! Here are some tips to avoid adopting from a puppy mill:

Avoid pet stores, newspaper or journal ads, and great deals on the internet! Many puppy mills supply local pet stores, and ads in newspapers or on websites can easily falsify information. In season two of my show Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan I worked with a dog named Bandit. Bandit’s website said that he was from a licensed breeder, but he turned out to be the product of a puppy mill, costing his new family thousands of dollars in vet bills and heartache over his life-threatening health and behavioral problems.

If you are looking to get a dog from a breeder, be sure to do some thorough research. You want to avoid any potential problems and make sure you are using a reputable one. Visit the breeder and ask questions! Ask to see the entire facility where the dogs are bred and kept. Is it clean? Spacious enough? Ask to see the parent dogs as well. Does the breeder show hesitation to let you see the facility or to let you meet the other dogs who are being kept there? Or is the breeder willing to just sell one of his puppies to anyone who walks in off the street, sight unseen? Reputable breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes. Beware of all these red flags.

Adopt from a shelter or rescue instead! This is the simplest solution. Rescues and shelters most often have the best interest of the animal at heart, and many of them are last chance adoptions. Remember that dogs live in the present - your feeling sorry for the dog and showering him with affection right off the bat can cause behavioral problems later on. Adopt a dog compatible with your energy level and lifestyle.

The puppy mill situation saddens me deeply, as it’s been my lifelong dream to see humans and dogs living together in harmonious relationships. It is my hope that we can one day eliminate all puppy mills and find good homes for the millions of homeless pets that live in shelters right now.

CESAR MILLAN is a best-selling author and star of the hit TV show “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan,” airing on Nat Geo WILD in the U.S. and over 100 countries internationally. He is President of The Millan Foundation, a non-profit organization that is credited with re-homing and rehabilitating thousands of dogs across the world.

Learn more about Cesar and read his latest news and tips by visiting

'Dr. Google' Not Always Best When Pets are Ill
By Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY

"There's great risk": Marty Becker, a nationally recognized veterinarian from Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, gets to know his Newfoundland patient, Oberon, owned by Rosemary O'Bryan. Becker worries about people relying too much on the Web to diagnose their pets' illnesses. By Jed Conklin for USA TODAY

Pets are increasingly being diagnosed and having treatment protocols developed by folks without veterinary training: their owners.

Feeling bolstered by the abundance of advice offered on websites or in online forums — usually by people with a similar lack of training or expertise — owners often are responding to their animals' ailments, injuries and emergencies by heading to their computers instead of the vet clinic.

And there are sometimes unhappy results, veterinarians across the country say.

"There's great risk of unnecessary pain, expense or worse," says veterinarian Marty Becker, who practices in Coeur D'Alene and Sandpoint, Idaho, and has written several books, including the just-released Your Dog: The Owner's Manual (Grand Central Life & Style, $25.99).

This ask-a-fellow-pet-owner-online approach has become so common, he says, it's become "the new normal."

Becker calls it the "vets vs. Net" phenomenon; veterinarian Nancy Kay, internal medicine specialist at the VCA Animal Care Center in Rohnert Park, Calif., calls it the "Get Dr. Google's Opinion" approach to pet care.

And though many veterinarians say they appreciate the Internet because it broadens clients' knowledge base and presents, for example, cutting-edge options for chronic conditions and support from other owners dealing with the same heartaches, too many people use it as a primary source when they have a sick pet, "and they put things off until it's too late," Becker says.

He knows that when a vet says such things, some people assume it's merely to keep revenue constant. But he often encounters the unfortunate fallout of delays.

Many conditions that make a dog or cat miserable can be quickly and relatively cheaply addressed with a veterinary visit and proper medications, he says. There's the dog that suffered for six years with feet so itchy he licked and chewed constantly. The owners, concluding it was allergies, used countless anti-itch products and shifted food regularly. Finally, weary of the wee-hours sounds of foot-chewing, they sought vet help. The dog had a "carpet of yeast and staph in his feet," Becker says. Within 48 hours of being prescribed an antifungal and an antibiotic, the itching disappeared.

Sometimes, though, the veterinary visit comes too late.

A dog arrived comatose at Becker's clinic after the owners had concluded a minor stomach upset was causing the non-stop vomiting. In fact, he'd swallowed a chunk of carpeting that lodged in the intestine, it ruptured, the abdomen filled with pus, and when they finally sought treatment, the dog couldn't be saved.

"Sometimes hours or minutes matter," Becker says.

In fact, a dog's obvious abdominal distress might not be just an upset belly but an obstruction (that can be fatal if surgery isn't done in a few hours), bloat (stomach swelling and possible twisting that will kill the dog in an hour without vet intervention), or ingestion of a toxin.

"People are crestfallen when, despite their best — though delayed — intention, and our best — though very late — efforts, we can't save them," Becker says.

"Responsibly surfing (the Web) is fabulous," Kay says, but that "does not take the place of a call or visit to your veterinarian."

Kay, author of Speaking for Spot (Trafalgar Square Books, $19.95), a consumer guide on how to advocate for your pets, often advises vets at conferences how to help clients use online sources wisely.

"Clients will surf," she says, and it's best if vets instruct them how to find reliable sites, so they don't find and believe information that causes "a prognosis to become bleaker."

Two tips she offers: "If a site has stuff for sale on it, skip it." And "when you plug in symptoms, follow them immediately by 'veterinary school' or 'college of veterinary medicine.' "

And in an emergency, don't go first to the computer.

My Pet World:
There's No Predicting Dog's Behavior Around Bears
By Steve Dale -

Q. Where we live in the woods, the bear population is increasing. A bear walked into a neighbor's home. When her dog began to bark, the bear ran off. My neighbor has a large mixed-breed dog, as I do. However, my dog, Charlie Horse, is so sweet that I worry he'd do nothing, and a bear could attack. To test this theory, I asked my neighbor to put on a bear costume I'd saved from a Halloween party. My dog wagged his tail and kept a safe distance, but seemed amused more than afraid. Could I train Charlie Horse to at least alert me if a bear approaches the house?

— B.C., Cyberspace

A. Charlie Horse was likely entertained when your friend attempted to threaten him wearing the bear costume. He knew there was no bear and might even have recognized your friend by sniffing under the costume.

There's no way to predict how your dog might respond to a real bear. However, it's unlikely Charlie Horse would wag his tail and beg the bear to pet him. There's a good chance he would bark a warning. Some dogs will do what they can, holding their ground, as perhaps your neighbor's dog did. Others will run and hide.

Emerging from winter hibernation, bears are hungry. Experts suggest keeping trash securely closed (use bear-proof trash bins) and never leaving food out in your yard. Remove plants with berries, a bear delicacy. Some people claim wolf urine, available at some feed stores, is a deterrent. You could dribble it around the edges of your property.

If it works at all, it will be effective only until the first significant rain.

While a large dog can be a deterrent, I don't recommend leaving your dog outside unsupervised. It would be wise to install outdoor lighting and make lots of noise when you go outdoors at night.

You could encourage your dog to bark at any unusual sound, which many dogs routinely do anyway. However, be careful what you wish for. I worry that in a month you'll write me again, complaining that your dog's barking has become unbearable.

Q. My daughter planned to take in a stray kitten, but her two cats weren't friendly. She ended up giving the kitten to me. At first, he spent most of his time under the bed, but now he's very loving toward me. If I sit down, he's in my lap. However, if a stranger comes into the house, the kitten disappears under the bed. He hides even when people he knows visit. Any advice?

— J. P., Goldsboro, N.C.

A. "Probably, this kitten was never appropriately socialized. Besides, some cats are just shy, as some people are," says cat behavior consultant Darlene Arden, author of "The Complete Cat's Meow" (Wiley, 2011).

Don't force your kitty out from under the bed. Visitors (starting with those she knows) might be able to coax her out with bits of tuna or salmon. If your kitten is playful, and your guests like cats, they might be able to draw her out using an interactive cat toy (fishing pole toy with feathers or fabric, or a Cat Dancer).

Arden, of Framingham, Mass., also suggests clicker-training your cat. First, offer treats each time you use the clicker (available online and at most pet stores). Your kitty will soon associate the clicker with something positive. Also, when she acts more outgoing, playful and demonstrative, click the clicker and offer a treat. (Don't overdo the treats or you'll have an overweight cat.) Once your kitty gets the idea, have someone else use the clicker.

As for the hiding, if you place an empty box or two in the room, your kitten may jump in there and not feel a need to hide under the bed.

"It would be nice if the cat learns to accept at least one other person, in case something happens to you," Arden says. "However, it sounds like your kitten is perfectly loving toward you, and that's what matters most."

Q. I liked your recent column on Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (doggy Alzheimer's) and stressing the importance of walking dogs. On your advice, I take my dog for about a mile walk every day. At 77, I feel better and so does Lady (black Labrador retriever), now 10-1/2. I think exercise helps her brain; she learns as fast as she ever has.

— J.M., Cyberspace

A. "There's very good evidence to indicate that walking keeps our gears moving, both our joints and our brains, and the same is true for dogs," says veterinary behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the behavior clinic at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, Mass., and editor of "Good Old Dog: Expert Advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Happy, Healthy and Comfortable" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010).

"Indeed, learning new things and switching up the environment (rotating toys, etc.), along with regular leash walks, are the most powerful things you can do to prevent or delay cognitive decline," Dodman adds.

If you notice even slight signs of confusion or changes in your dog's sleep/wake cycle as she ages, see your veterinarian. Early diagnosis increases the odds of finding a way to deal with a cognitive issue if, in fact, that is the problem. For example, pacing may not be an indication of confusion, but just a dog hesitating to lie down because it hurts.

For cognitive issues, there's good news. Helpful measure can include a prescription diet (Hill's B/D), a drug called Anipryl and SAMe supplement tablets called Novifit, as well as other products, all available through veterinarians.

Write to Steve Dale at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to

Hints From Heloise:
 A Pet Snake?
By Heloise -

Dear Readers: Do you want to get a SNAKE AS A PET? Do some research beforehand!

Nonvenomous snakes are available in many pet stores, and these are some of the species we found available in our area:

… ball pythons

… corn snakes

… king snakes

… milk snakes

… rosy boa constrictors

… sand boa constrictors.

Snakes need specific care and supplies to keep them healthy and happy. Some snakes are fed live animals, like rodents (although there are fresh-frozen rodents available at some pet stores). You really need to study up on the snake species you choose beforehand so you know exactly what it needs and the commitment it will take.

Some snakes, like constrictors, can get huge! As they grow, they will need new enclosures and more care.

Also, you may not be able to house different types of snakes together. Be sure to research before adding a new snake -- one snake could kill another or pass along a disease.

You must consider carefully before making the choice to bring a snake into your life. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Linda George of Camarillo, Calif., sent a picture of her Australian shepherd cattle dog, Mei Mei, enjoying a warm spring day in the grass with Linda’s other pet, a tortoise named Wilbur. To see Mei Mei and Wilbur, as well as our other Pet Pals, go to and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: A trick I have with my dogs is to change the flavor of their food each time they’re done with one can. Most, if not all, canned dog-food brands come in different flavors. Just like we would get bored with eating chicken or beef every day, the dogs do, too. Each time they’re finished with that canned-food flavor, they get a new flavor. It keeps them excited about eating! -- Ophelie M. in Louisiana

An interesting idea? We spoke to a couple of leading manufacturers of dog foods. One suggested a gradual switch from, say, chicken to beef. However, if the dog is happy with chicken (he gobbles it up), there is no need to change. The other source said food changes depend on your dog. Some are VERY sensitive to change, and it can cause potential problems. So, watch your dog.

Changing flavors of wet food in the same brand should be fine, as long as the dog’s system can tolerate it. When in doubt, please check with your veterinarian. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Before we picked up our new puppy, I got a towel and made sure the scent of all our family members was on it. I took the towel to the breeder a week before we picked up Louie. He never whimpered or cried once when he came home with us. I’m convinced it’s because he knew our scents so well and immediately felt safe, secure and at home. -- Rhonda in Madison, Ala.

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

Pet Talk:
Curb Your Cat's Conniptions at the Vet
By Sharon L. Peters -

You're belly-crawling under the bed, trying to peel a shrieking mass of hostility off the far wall. Or thundering through the house, attempting to trap her behind the drapes and jam her (unsheathed claws and all) into a carrier without drawing blood (your own is of paramount concern). Then there's the hideous drive across town while she screams and yowls and hurls herself against the carrier like some underworld creature possessed.

And when you finally reach your destination, there's the horrid humiliation of people edging away, exchanging glances, all of them suspecting what you know to be true: When finally uncaged, she'll attempt to maim or murder everyone in the room.

Just your routine trip to the veterinarian with your cat.

Few events inspire more dread. But we just accept the horror of the vet trip as the unavoidable fallout — like cleaning up regurgitated hairballs — of life with felines. And yet … is it such a ridiculous flight of fancy to imagine a calmer, more collegial process is possible?

Amazingly, the ordeal can indeed, at minimum, be toned down, and in some cases become almost a non-event, says Kristen Collins, an expert from the ASPCA's Animal Behavior Center.

It just takes some prep work.

First, you've got to accept that this kitty craziness isn't just about Fluffy having a personal issue with the vet. It's that she's unnerved by everything the visit entails.

"Cats lead such different lives, in terms of exposure to the outside world, than dogs do," says Collins.

Most dogs understand through experience that when they go outside, get into the car or meet people, fun things usually ensue, like walks, other dogs, pats, great scents and maybe even treats. Cats learn through experience that when the carrier appears, they're going to get crammed into it against their will, forced into a moving object with which they have only a once-yearly encounter, and land at a funny-smelling place full of strangers that wrench them into odd positions, poke at body parts and shove sharp objects into them.

What piece of that would anyone enjoy?

Collins says you have to convince the cat that each chunk of the process is non-threatening, even pleasant. That's simple with a kitten, slower with an adult cat (especially if negative associations have already been made), but definitely improvable.

So, first, her tips for getting kittens journey- and vet-ready ("3 to 9 weeks old is a critical socialization time, so it's best if it can start then," she says).

Most cats spend their lives inside, and even indoor/outdoor cats avoid much general socialization. So kittens, Collins says, should "be socialized with people of all ages, sizes and colors and with many different environments."

She recommends putting on a harness and leash (she prefers one from Premiere Pet Products) and "going out in the world." You can visit other people with kittens, hold "kitten parties" as increasing numbers of cat people and trainers are doing, and check into kitten socialization classes. When the kitten goes to new places, she should get wonderful treats and fun play time.

Outings to the vet "once or twice a week" should occur. The kitten isn't examined or doctored, but merely gets to eat treats, play and get accustomed to the place without unpleasantness.

There's also the matter of getting the kitten carrier-comfortable. Collins recommends keeping the carrier (with cuddly bedding inside) out at all times with the door open, and not only feeding her there, but also randomly dropping treats inside so she'll regard it as a pleasant place.

Also, acclimate the kitten to being handled "outside the vet context in ways that would happen with the vet." So, at home you start — for just seconds at a time — getting the kitten to the point she can tolerate lying on her back, or being scruffed, for example, or having her hind end handled, so none of this feels foreign at the vet's.

And once kitty's comfortable with all that — "it moves really fast with a kitten," Collins says — keep up the socialization and visits so the world continues to feel non-threatening.

With an adult cat, you follow all the same procedures, but you must go much slower. And the carrier, since it already has negativity attached, may be more challenging. So start by putting the food bowl 12 inches from it, then moving it an inch closer daily until it's inside.

The process "is very easy to do," Collins says, "and life could be so much easier."

A few cats (but not nearly as many as we describe as hyper-anxious/crazy) may not, regardless how patiently and determinedly you pursue this training, ever become fully comfortable. But if you can "even make a dent with them," it helps, says Collins. "Any reduction of stress is worthwhile."

For cat and owner alike.

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